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Gutted no more bees!!


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After observing strange behaviour with my two hives for nearly a week I decided to inspect one of them more closely. Upon further inspection I realised that the hive was completely empty. I then inspected the second hive to see that it too was vacant.

 

Both hives have full honey supers, but the brood chambers and sounding honey storage are completely empty! There are no dead bees within or outside of the hive. I have checked for pest and disease but no evidence to suggest CCD what so ever. I am at a complete loss. I have had these two hives for three years now and prior to winter I inspected them both and they were doing well. Population was high and both queens were ok.

I do however think they have abscond. But for them to do it in winter will almost certainly mean that they will not survive.

I couple of weeks ago I did notice a lot of smoke from neighbours who were burning rubbish covering my yard where the hives are situated. At the time I did not think that it may cause issues, but unfortunately this is becoming more frequent.

 

My question is could this be the case?

Any input would be of great help even it is bad! At this point in time I feel I have done something wrong but cannot figure it out so any suggestions as to what may of caused a loss of two colonies would be of great help.

 

Regards.... Tony

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autumn treatment ?

i assume that you checked for afb. what was the dead brood like?

 

my guess here is that they have absconded due to lack of treatment (i may have jumped the gun here) but usually it will leave PMS brood behind which looks a lot like AFB.

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Looks like PMS signs. There may not be any dead bees in or around the hive when it dies from varroa sometimes. They just keep dwindling in number till there are only a handful of bees and die off. Sometimes they bounce back from it and come up as strong colonies too.

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autumn treatment ?

i assume that you checked for afb. what was the dead brood like?

 

my guess here is that they have absconded due to lack of treatment (i may have jumped the gun here) but usually it will leave PMS brood behind which looks a lot like AFB.

I have inspected each cell for AFB but none of them seem to have that problem. No ropey cells or sunken sells for that matter. This year however I was unable to perform another treatment... But when I was inspecting the hives I did not see any evidence of mite infestation prior to winter. Both hives were doing well and there were very little evidence of mite infestation. You are most likely correct which makes me feel even worse and more determined to not let this happen again... But what gets me is could the continuous smoke bellowing over the Hives from days on end could also contribute to the hive absconding? Like I stated, this year has been pretty bad..

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I have inspected each cell for AFB but none of them seem to have that problem. No ropey cells or sunken sells for that matter.

i can see a heap of sunken cells in that pic alone. i suggest getting an experienced beekeeper to take a look.

 

 

This year however I was unable to perform another treatment... But when I was inspecting the hives I did not see any evidence of mite infestation prior to winter.

same old story.......didn't "see" mites so didn't treat and hives die.

you need to have a testing method like jar test or mite fall.

rule of thumb is they always have mites. so you need to have an adequate treating system.

no such thing as "unable to look after them". if you can't, then organize someone else to do it for you.

 

 

But what gets me is could the continuous smoke bellowing over the Hives from days on end could also contribute to the hive absconding? Like I stated, this year has been pretty bad..

maybe.

but considering the above info its not the cause of your problems.

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i can see a heap of sunken cells in that pic alone. i suggest getting an experienced beekeeper to take a look.

 

 

same old story.......didn't "see" mites so didn't treat and hives die.

you need to have a testing method like jar test or mite fall.

rule of thumb is they always have mites. so you need to have an adequate treating system.

no such thing as "unable to look after them". if you can't, then organize someone else to do it for you.

 

 

maybe.

but considering the above info its not the cause of your problems.

Thanks for the input!! I have resigned to the fact that I messed up...

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After a visit from my friend he suggests that the bees abscond from the two hive's not from PMS but what it seems to be excessive smoke damage to the hives... There is only one frame from one hive that has dead brood as per picture. I would of had a serious problem if I did not treat the hive this spring. The second hive had no indication of pest or disease.

 

I did not think for more a minute that both hives would run. I knew that at some point they would be a little pissed off. There are lessons to be learned from this and I will take note including the comments made from other members.

 

Cheers.

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What does "excessive smoke damage" to a hive look like ? The only "smoke damage" I've seen has been blackened & blistered surfaces, melted plastic etc in a house . Not trying to be smart here, just wondering if smoke damage would have been picked up without knowledge of the history.

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Damage as in stained hives and a foul odour. He could not understand why they left I was under the impression that it was PMS and maybe worse hence the callto visit. And yes I did state that could the reason be as a result of prolonged smoke he could not find any other indication or other reason for the absconding hives.

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Tony in my opinion its probably more likely to be varroa than smoke.

 

If you only left the Apivar in for 6 weeks thats around 4 weeks less than it needed to be left in.

There would have still been a reasonable amount of varroa in the hive after a 6 week treatment. That coupled with no Autumn treatment which is a critical period to treat a jive to get mite numbers down as low as possible so the winter bees that are produced in late Autumn are not affected by the virus's transmitted by varroa.

 

It could also be that you had a failing queen and the hives dwindled to nothing.

 

The key is inspect your hives frequently so you know exactly whats going on. And also do a sugar roll or whatever test you are comfortable with after treatment so you know if its worked.

 

Ive never seen or heard of a hive absconding because of smoke.

 

.

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Tony in my opinion its probably more likely to be varroa than smoke.

 

If you only left the Apivar in for 6 weeks thats around 4 weeks less than it needed to be left in.

There would have still been a reasonable amount of varroa in the hive after a 6 week treatment. That coupled with no Autumn treatment which is a critical period to treat a jive to get mite numbers down as low as possible so the winter bees that are produced in late Autumn are not affected by the virus's transmitted by varroa.

 

It could also be that you had a failing queen and the hives dwindled to nothing.

 

The key is inspect your hives frequently so you know exactly whats going on. And also do a sugar roll or whatever test you are comfortable with after treatment so you know if its worked.

 

Ive never seen or heard of a hive absconding because of smoke.

 

.

Thank you, It's got me thinking

 

Tony in my opinion its probably more likely to be varroa than smoke.

 

If you only left the Apivar in for 6 weeks thats around 4 weeks less than it needed to be left in.

There would have still been a reasonable amount of varroa in the hive after a 6 week treatment. That coupled with no Autumn treatment which is a critical period to treat a jive to get mite numbers down as low as possible so the winter bees that are produced in late Autumn are not affected by the virus's transmitted by varroa.

 

It could also be that you had a failing queen and the hives dwindled to nothing.

 

The key is inspect your hives frequently so you know exactly whats going on. And also do a sugar roll or whatever test you are comfortable with after treatment so you know if its worked.

 

Ive never seen or heard of a hive absconding because of smoke.

 

.

Hello Frazz... Thanks for your input! Although it may sound like I am doubting what help I am receiving on this post, trust me I am not. And I truly believe that the comments made here are more credible than the advice I have been getting.

 

I do think you have all have nailed it and when "you" spoke of a failing Queen I did a further inspection of my second hive that didn't seem to have any real pest problems and laying there by one of the brood frames I found my Queen... She is dying but not dead from what I can see. " I will upload a pic soon just to make sure it's the Queen. I found one what's seems to me to be an old Queen cell but that's it.

 

With that being said. My next question to you is what shall I do to the hives. Can they be used in the future?

 

Cheers Tony

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Ive never seen or heard of a hive absconding because of smoke.

.

i've got some pics on here somewhere of a site of ours that caught fire.

in the end lost a couple of bases but only one hive of bees. none absconded.

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OK, well if you found the queen nearly dead in one of the hives, you know that one did not abscond, anyway.

 

To be honest, if you did not do a mite treatment last autumn, it would be more surprising if the hives were alive and doing well, in fact highly unlikely. Much more likely that mites had killed the bees, and in these situations the queen is among the last to die.

 

Which seems to be pretty much what you have found going on.

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